The Vatican issued new guidelines yesterday telling churches to actively address child abuse by creating “clear and coordinated” procedures to handle alleged cases, listening to victims, creating “safe environment” programs for minors, and properly screening seminarians. That’s great, especially considering the Catholic church’s odious record on covering up prior cases. The only problem: the guidelines don’t actually require bishops to report child abuse to the police and don’t penalize bishops for refusing to do anything at all.
On the contrary, the guidelines value a bishop’s decisions over that of the civilian review boards that have uncovered the church’s child abuse cases in the past. The guidelines also tell bishops to submit each “credible” case of bad touch to Pappa Ratzi and his Vatican crew for review. U.S. victims rights group, The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said “Until top church officials who hide and enable abuse are severely disciplined — top church officials will continue to hide and enable abuse.” Amen.